October 5, 2019 at 12:48 pm #2738763
Hello. Last Chance CPA here. I have not posted in a couple of years, as I passed the exams 4 years ago.
I am on the wrong side of 40 now still working in IT/business consulting. I have tried all kinds of ways to move into finance/accounting, but to no avail. I even interviewed with my former employer KPMG for an audit type role, perfectly clarified that I am willing to take a step or two back, but no job offer. Note: I was previously with the IT Enablement group at KPMG, working on healthcare IT implementations.
Maybe sour grapes, but I find it ridiculous that I have not been able to move into finance/accounting after having passed the CPA exams. I don't understand the need for the work experience (e.g., CA) since work has changed so much over the decades. Job titles have changed dramatically, and the world of finance and technology have merged like a storm.
If you pass bar exam, you are an Esquire. If you pass medical school, you are an MD (with 3 years of residency – lol!). If you pass the CFA exams, you can put those initials next to your name immediately. Why does a CPA have to complete 12 months of general accounting experience and 500 hours of attest experience in CA? There should be a path for non-traditional CPAs to get those letters next to their name.
There are fintech jobs out there where I would be a great fit. And the CPA combined with the IT experience would be valuable in these roles. Passing the CPA exams was my greatest academic achievement, even more than the MBA, PMP, and CISA certs. Seems like a waste.
Regardless, I am experienced and doing well in the healthcare consulting space. Who knows what the future holds. I remember starting this process when I turned 35 and here am I now…October 5, 2019 at 2:04 pm #2738859turo9992000Participant
Maybe revise your resume and make it less impressive. I know people over 40 with MBAs and hella experience. They applied as staff accountants after passing the CPA exam, took a deep paycut for a year or 2 and got their license. Small regional firms will take you in, but they probably don't want to pay you what they think you are worth. They would feel bad paying you a staff accountants wage.
Anyways, go in say you passed the exam and don't have much experience in accounting and are willing to be a staff accountant.
I do partly agree with you about the experience requirement, especially the attest experience, but that's the state we live in.October 6, 2019 at 12:27 pm #2740056AnthonyParticipant
Not true at all. Just passing the CFA exams DOES NOT give you the title as CFA Charterholder status. In additional to dealing with 3 painstaking grueling exams, you need 4 years of qualifying experiencing to get it.
Honestly, have you tried recruiters or headhunters? If $ ain't a problem and you haven't done so already, get a MACC so you can reset the recruitment process.October 6, 2019 at 5:04 pm #2740383
Thanks both. I know the CFA is very difficult, but the experience seems to have flexibility. My wife is a lawyer and she has the CFA books, but put them aside when life got busy last year. I have a project management certification (PMP) which also requires experience. I fudged some of that experience and I am a great PM regardless.
I just don't agree with how they require the experience for the CPA. We should be able to call ourselves CPAs if we have passed the exams and have some relevant experience. My financial systems implementation experience should suffice. I am not necessarily looking to be a traditional accountant nor an auditor, but who knows what the future will bring. I will keep trying with the recruiters…October 6, 2019 at 11:09 pm #2740812PaulParticipant
I agree with you but it's what it is. With today unemployment I am having hard time believing no one is willing to hire you. Maybe too much experience on resume?
With that being said, my advice is to take EA test. I know it sucks after you already passes your cpa exams but with EA you can start working for yourself. Unless you want to do auditing only, you can do everything with your EA licenseOctober 7, 2019 at 8:50 am #2741112Accounting_is_TaxingParticipant
I actually think the CPA experience requirement is quite reasonable. You only need a year.
I think you're going to have to start at the bottom if you really want to be a CPA. You're going to have to take more than a few steps back if you want to work in accounting.October 7, 2019 at 10:37 am #2741289MaLoTuParticipant
If you can find a smaller firm that does financial and Sox audit you may be able to leverage your IT experience on the SOX side and get some financial experience on the audit side. I can see where it would be difficult to start from square one with a new career just to get a certificate.
I understand that the CPA in your case is just a credential that will set you apart in the area you already have expertise in; however, the experience you gain over 1-2 years working under an experienced CPA is valuable. The exam is just garbage in, garbage out. Anyone can pass if they study enough (no offense to anyone currently studying but you will understand what I mean once you are done). It by no measure means that you know anything substantive about being an accountant. So in that respect I think that the experience requirement is essential to the credibility of the license.October 7, 2019 at 10:44 am #2741301
You are still on here MaLoTu!?! Where's Skynet – lol?
I agree with everyone. Like I said, I am just sour grapes over here. It would just be a waste if I don't practice as a CPA in some capacity. I do know lawyers who don't practice law, as well as doctors who stopped practicing as well. Also, I am deep into healthcare now and I probably don't want to get out of that industry…October 7, 2019 at 11:54 am #2741391
Hi Ma Lo Tu!! I know Skynet is around somewhere – does anyone remember me?
I have to agree with the poster that the experience requirement is difficult to achieve for those of us who are older. I passed all my exams as of May 2016 and still don't have 12 months experience under a licensed CPA. Fortunately, NC has a 4 years accounting experience requirement that I am hoping to achieve before I die. NC's 12 months does not have to include audit,either. I am currently working for a law firm doing tax work and no one is a CPA but my boss is very knowledgeable in tax. I am entertaining the EA as an option so I can represent my tax clients directly. I have been putting it off because it will be 3-5 months of nothing else but studying again…
I do think it's crap that attorneys are licensed right away, PT's are, EA's are… the experience is great, if you can get it, but I don't think it weeds out bad CPAs or makes us better than we can achieve on our own.
Meanwhile, I will keep chugging away at it.October 7, 2019 at 1:15 pm #2741511MaLoTuParticipant
Hi Monikernc! Yes I remember you 🙂
I can definitely understand the hardship in finding the opportunity to get the experience. My comment wasn’t meant to minimize one’s plight when it comes to finding a job that can give someone the hours they need. But, that is a different issue than whether the experience requirements are valid.October 8, 2019 at 9:13 am #2743053
Is the EA exam difficult? I was thinking about doing taxes as a side hustle. I wouldn't know how to get clients though with a full-time job. But I mostly work from home, so I have time.October 8, 2019 at 10:52 am #2743212DDylanParticipant
I am curious why you want to transit to traditional accounting/finance role. Traditional audit role is boring as F. Long hours and low pay. I bet you get paid six figures for IT implementation/consulting. I would suggest try IT advisory or IT audit type of role.
Another suggest is you can actually license in another state with lower experience requirement. I licensed in Oklahoma but work in Dallas. Unless my employer requires me, I will never transfer my license to Texas due to the extra ethics course requirement and paperwork.
I am a CPA and was in various traditional accounting/finance roles(assurance, regular accounting/reporting, now FP&A). I am learning some coding and hope it would open more doors for me along the way.October 8, 2019 at 11:41 am #2743326
DDylan – I have always wanted to get a professional skill-set such as the CPA, JD, MD, etc. I went for the MBA in my mid-to-late 20s, but didn't get the satisfaction I thought I would. I do hear that audit is boring AF. I do make easy six figures doing IT implementations / consulting. I am looking at IT advisory. I am interviewing with Accenture right now with their CFO Advisory team, where it would be a healthy mix of healthcare finance & technology.
I have looked at other states, and I don't have an option right now. To be honest, I am just bored. In consulting, we have a thing called “on the beach” or “on the bench” where you basically work for a company on a W2 basis and sit “on the beach” when there is no client work. Being down here in San Diego, coupled with some bad employment choices I have made over the past 6 years, I am mostly just bored! If I end up back in Big 4/6 consulting, I am sure I will be kept quite busy. Just need to get through this…October 8, 2019 at 11:56 am #2743341
LastChance, I think you were around when I was actively studying with the forum.
I have an MBA and it is not an exciting degree to have. Requires no mastery of any established body of knowledge, no CPE to stay fresh on content, etc.
I was making an interesting combo of 6 figures income in IT and left after 20+ years because it is so prone to failures and blame. Six years out and I still can't stand the term “scope creep” and the word “glitch” and people who aspire to be project managers. So, there are many reasons people come to “traditional” accounting roles such as tax. Audit may be boring to some, I don't know, really never tried it except in an internship. I have friends who excel at it, though. Tax is people driven and complex. It is more year round than people realize. My regret is not knowing the ageism that prevails in this profession and public accountants can be real jerks. I work for attorneys now and do an interesting practice of estate, trust, individual, exempt and gift returns. My job includes a lot of research and planning tasks which I enjoy.
I have a friend who did his EA after his CPA (just for the letters after his name and to stay in study mode while waiting for law school to begin) and he says it is not difficult but studying is essential to passing. PassKey is cheap and all he used and what I will use once I am ready to be immersed in something again.October 8, 2019 at 12:14 pm #2743365
Hi monikernc. I remember you. I am actually doing a presentation on agile and scope creep next Monday – lol. I am a PM and I hate it. And everyone thinks they are an expert just because they have a basic PMP. I just want to be good at something that people need from me. And I want to stay busy in life, which includes work.October 8, 2019 at 1:21 pm #2743458
LastChance, not sure if moving is an option but if CO is a possibility for you check out Wells Fargo IT Audit jobs in Denver. They recruited at my school in NC because they are based in Charlotte but have an internal audit staff in Denver. Very good paying, the guy was a jerk but the team members seemed very happy. If you haven't heard, everyone is moving to CO. Traffic sucks so if you work in Denver you want to live in Denver. If you do happen to come out here and need a place to land, hit me up.October 8, 2019 at 7:41 pm #2743938
Thanks monikernc. I love Denver and surrounding areas. My wife travels there for work twice a year and I usually go with her. We will probably stay in San Diego for the time being, but would be great to get your LinkedIn if the site allows it.October 8, 2019 at 8:14 pm #2743983hashbrownParticipant
Have you looked at the NASBA Experience Verification process. More hoops to jump through, but it may be an option.October 9, 2019 at 7:01 pm #2745321
Hashbrown NASBA verification is only available to candidates in a handful of states. I am not a candidate in those and most have residency requirements.
LastChance – I am taking a hard look at Montana today – you only have to have one year of experience verified by a CPA licensed in any state and no residency or auditing requirement. The education is the same as NC. The downside is that NASBA does all the work for them and it requires an official transcript from every school I attended for undergraduate. I have had a problem with my first college having lost records – so this may not work for me but it could work for you. If I can get the transcript I have colleagues who may be willing to verify by following up with the CPA firms that have provided affidavits of some of my experience and the attorney I work for now. Then I have to go through the reciprocity process with CO where I live and work and hope they will recognize my license. CO won't work because they require 3 specific classes that I don't have and direct supervision by a CPA. What a racket! I should know in the next few days whether I can get the one transcript. Let me know what you think.October 10, 2019 at 1:40 am #2745792
Thanks monikernc, but I think my opportunity has passed. I need to focus on healthcare consulting as my primary career. Just your explanation above plus all the other research I have been doing this week makes me realize even more just how absurd the process is to obtain the license.
Like I mentioned, I will try to get some satisfaction by getting a side hustle – e.g., taxes.October 10, 2019 at 12:49 pm #2746308
Well LastChance, I understand your response but please know that I have you to thank for igniting my search on this. I have resolved the issue with my transcript already – much easier than anticipated, thankfully. I am going to start gathering everything now for submission at the end of the year and fingers crossed I will get a license in Montana that CO will recognize. My next post will be asking if anyone licensed in MT has used reciprocity in CO and what it took to get it. SO, big thanks to you. My journey might actually have the happy ending I have been working toward.October 10, 2019 at 4:59 pm #2746608SkynetParticipant
Whose idea was it to disturb me while I was making out with several Victoria Secret Model?
Was that you Last Chance CPA?October 10, 2019 at 5:05 pm #2746623October 10, 2019 at 5:22 pm #2746644jombeParticipant
I saw Denver in this thread and just wanted to point out that I currently work in Denver area and we just had our first snow today. It went from 83 degrees to 30 degrees in about 12 hrs. And, true story about traffic getting worse.October 10, 2019 at 5:27 pm #2746653
JOMBE, I am in NOCO and yes snow it did…temps did drop fast! almost gone now though!
Anyone else think the experience requirement is just plain ridiculous?!?!?
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